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My day at the 2012 trails conference

The 2012 WA State Trails Conference was held at the University of WA on the 25th of May. The talks were held at various locations on campus, making sure we got our 15 minutes of exercise for the day by walking between the various venues. With close to 200 delegates in attendance, it was by far the largest State Trails Conference yet.

International guest speaker Dafydd Davies was the star attraction for the day. He talked about sustainable trails, planning, frame work and using trails to connect people to nature. He used examples from his own experience of projects around the world to get his ideas and messages across. For the rest of the day people were heard quoting Dafydd’s sayings in their conversations with “sustainability” the word of the day. His presence at the conference and the work he is doing in the state at this time will leave an everlasting effect on the professionalism of trails for decades.

The breakout session after morning tea gave people the opportunity to listen to a speaker of their choice. The trails hub report was the highest attended session, with standing room only. An update of the trail hub planning was given as well as an explanation of what it is about and how it’s progressing. This is a ground breaking project for trail tourism in WA.

Lunch gave us the first chance for some networking and to catch up and discuss the day so far, or just to meet with friends in the business.

The afternoon session started with the Kalamunda Circuit mountain bike trail presentation by Jake Hannah and Murray Wynne to a packed room. They gave us a run down on the history of the trail and some foresight into future plans that will give Perth a complete quality trail system on its door step worthy of the 2 million people that live there. The horse riders were next, being represented by ATHRA, giving us a run down of their organisation and how they are advancing the network of horse trails. Rounding out the day was a question time with Dafydd again taking questions from the audience.

As always the sundowner ended the day with some informal networking which leads to some of the most important talks between the cream of the trail advocates in the state. It’s been noted that there has been a drop in numbers from the walking community over the years, which has been summarised by the fact they already have enough walking trails. This year’s state trails conference was overwhelming weighted by the mountain bike sector which shows the demand is here now and the way forward is strong and healthy with every sector of the government helping pave the way for sustainable trails.

WA mountain bike clubs and associations were represented by advocates from WAMBA, SWMTB Club, Cape Club, Collie MTB Club, Albany, Margaret River and the Munda Biddi Foundation.

The state trails conference was a success for mountain biking WA.


John Wallace

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Tags: 2012, WA, conference, trails

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Comment by John Wallace on June 1, 2012 at 8:53pm

It was great to mix with people that make trails work, DEC, DSR talking to people like, Steve Bennet, Stewart Harrison and the crew from the mundabiddi foundation, the walking stick holder Mike Woods. I sometimes think there is enough content for a two day conference to fit it all in. The day always seems too short when the sundowner comes to an end, as the sundowner is when a lot of important networking happens, bussiness cards get swapped and the real important introductions and ideas get started for the next year ahead concerning trails.

One thing I like about the sundowner is to be able to help people with ideas and contacts within minutes, instead of potentially months. Often someone has had something that has been an issue, and you can say,"I know who has done a study on that..." turn around grab them by the arm, explain the situation and "hey presto", connecting people with the right people solving difficult challenges instantly.

International guest speakers are my favourite speakers as they bring a totaly different aspect of thinking to WA in regards to trails. My favourite International Guest Speaker would have to Micheal Haynes from Canda. He nailed it so well in regards to how volunteers make such an impact on trails regardless of what type of trails were being talked about. Volunteers can go through many many years of going through the correct channels to get a trail made to an international standard, the facilities, parking, marketing ect ect. then after maybe 10 years it all gets approved and happens within 3 months and its all over and done with, leaving the volunteers empty with nothing to look forward to. Once its all finished its almost a let down as to what to keep putting that energy into.

Volunteers really make it happen

Other names id like to mention for the state trails conference are Geordie Thompson, Jo Gibelini, Jade Browning, Nick Bowman, Dafydd Davis, Murray Gomm, Murray Wynne, Jake Hannah, Brian Maca, Aaryn Johansen, Gus Stewart, and so many more.

I think Steve Bennet deserves an overseas holiday for his efforts.

Thanks all great day

Comment by Trailtalk Admin on May 30, 2012 at 2:02pm

It was great to see such a good turn-out for the event.  DSR did a great job pulling it all together.

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